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Facebook advertisers pulling ads over controversy

Social media sites are learning that using advertising to generate new revenue also means that they may have to monitor user-created pages.


Facebook advertisers pulling their ads

After Nissan and other advertisers temporarily removed their ads from Facebook, the social networking site is facing the question of whether to control content created by users to appease the advertisers, or risk losing revenue?

Dove ads, for example, were placed in locations which sat alongside pages that glorified violence against women. The company issued a statement saying, “We are also refining our targeting terms in case any further pages like these are created. Facebook advertising targets people’s interests, not pages, and we do not select the pages our adverts appear on.” [sic]

Advertisers don’t currently have control

Currently, advertisers cannot prevent their ads being placed on pages with offensive content. However, once a page is flagged as controversial, the ads are then removed from the page until the content is removed or the page is shut down completely.

According to Sarah Feinberg, the director of policy communications at Facebook, “The site does not preemptively identify content as controversial until it is reported.”

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It’s up to Facebook

Ultimately though, it’s up to Facebook to make the decision… as they’re learning. The company acknowledged that its systems to identify and remove offensive and controversial content had not worked effectively in the past, and has promised to improve those processes.

And, because of the rapidly refreshing site, advertisers have even less control over where their ad is placed. Brands are losing that control and must trust that Facebook will do everything it can to create an environment conducive to positive advertising for their clients.

What are Facebook users to do?

So, as a Facebook user, what are we to do? Do we stay quiet, or risk our pages being shut down, due to upsetting advertisers who might be sharing a page with our possibly offensive content? I say, speak your mind. We have free speech, use it responsibly. If an advertiser still doesn’t like your content, they can pull their ad and go back to more traditional advertisement medium, such as print magazines or television commercials.

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Written By

Tasha Salinas is a staff writer at The American Genius, holding a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications and Journalism from Northeastern University. She is an info geek who reads, talks, & thinks way too much. You don't want to know how long it took her to write this bio.

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